Public input sought on proposal to construct small viewing site

From Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks 

Kalispell — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking input on a proposal to create a public wildlife viewing area overlooking the 427-acre North Shore Wildlife Management Area southeast of Kalispell. 

FWP owns and manages the North Shore WMA located in Flathead County, approximately seven miles southeast of Kalispell and just north of Flathead Lake. The WMA is a mix of cultivated grain fields, seasonally flooded grasslands, and wooded uplands. 

The property abuts the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) 1,887-acre Flathead Lake North Shore Waterfowl Production Area (WPA), and together they protect the lake’s longest stretch of undeveloped shoreline and are part of the Audubon-designated Flathead Lake Important Bird Area (IBA). The agricultural land of the WMA is managed for wildlife with leave grain left by contract farmers to provide for the energetic requirements of thousands of waterfowl that use the north shore of Flathead Lake as a stopover on their migration north. Over 100 species of birds have been documented using the WMA, including tens of thousands of waterfowl, shorebirds, and raptors. 

FWP proposes building a wildlife viewing area on the northwest corner of the WMA. Construction would include: 

• Improving a portion of the existing access road from the parking lot to the viewing platform 

• Potentially widening the parking area to provide space for a bus to turn around

• Constructing a 5-ft high, 256 square foot viewing platform of compressed gravel with safety railing

• Building fences and planting shrubs to screen the viewing area from wildlife. 

A copy of the draft environmental assessment is available at the FWP Region 1 office, 490 N. Meridian Rd., Kalispell; Montana State Library, 1515 E 6th Ave., Helena; FWP State Headquarters, 1420 E 6th Ave., Helena; the FWP website at http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/; and available for viewing at local libraries. 

Public comments can be submitted to either of the following addresses below and must be received by 5 p.m. on June 13 to Chris Hammond, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, 490 North Meridian Road, Kalispell, MT 59901 or e-mail to chammond@mt.gov

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